Elon Musk Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Elon Musk. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.
Elon Musk
If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
There needs to be a reason for a grade. I’d rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there’s no point in getting an A.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.
Elon Musk
It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Elon Musk
You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.
Elon Musk
One thing that Musk holds in the highest regard is resolve, and he respects people who continue on after being told no.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of problems you solve
Elon Musk
I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.
Elon Musk
I think it would be great to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact.
Elon Musk
As his ex-wife, Justine, put it, “He does what he wants, and he is relentless about it. It’s Elon’s world, and the rest of us live in it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Constantly seek criticism. A well thought out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.
Elon Musk
He points out that one of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask,” Musk said. “Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask.” The teenage Musk then arrived at his ultralogical mission statement. “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.
Elon Musk
He seems to feel for the human species as a whole without always wanting to consider the wants and needs of individuals.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I’d rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there’s no point in getting an A.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
No, I don't ever give up. I'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated
Elon Musk
I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. I'm just trying to think about the future and not be sad.
Elon Musk
If you told him that you made a particular choice because ‘it was the standard way things had always been done,’ he’d kick you out of a meeting fast.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Everything he does is fast,” Brogan said. “He pees fast. It’s like a fire hose—three seconds and out. He’s authentically in a hurry.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
If you need inspiration, don't do it.
Elon Musk
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
Elon Musk
The first step is to establish that something is possible then probability will occur.
Elon Musk
I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.
Elon Musk
Money is not his motivation, and, quite frankly, I think it just happens for him,” Justine said. “It’s just there. He knows he can generate it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I think there are probably too many smart people pursuing Internet stuff, finance, and law,” Musk said on the way. “That is part of the reason why we haven’t seen as much innovation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst. It sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.
Elon Musk
I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to ten—how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe ten hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I just look at it as ‘What grades do I need to get where I want to go?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Any product that needs a manual to work is broken.
Elon Musk
He’s been known to obsess over typos in e-mails to the point that he could not see past the errors and read the actual content of the messages. Even in social settings, Musk might get up from the dinner table without a word of explanation to head outside and look at the stars, simply because he’s not willing to suffer fools or small talk.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
What Musk has developed that so many of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley lack is a meaningful worldview. He’s the possessed genius on the grandest quest anyone has ever concocted. He’s less a CEO chasing riches than a general marshaling troops to secure victory. Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to . . . well . . . save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
What’s fascinating is that Musk remains willing to lose it all.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
That’s my lesson for taking a vacation: vacations will kill you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing tht makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.
Elon Musk
To me, Elon is the shining example of how Silicon Valley might be able to reinvent itself and be more relevant than chasing these quick IPOs and focusing on getting incremental products out,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
The company would pick a plan of attack, and when it failed at something, it failed fast and then tried a new approach.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I take the position that I'm always to some degree wrong, and the aspiration is to be less wrong.
Elon Musk
To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it’s a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
There is a fundamental problem with regulators. If a regulator agrees to change a rule and something bad happens, they could easily lose their career. Whereas if they change a rule and something good happens, they don’t even get a reward. So, it’s very asymmetric. It’s then very easy to understand why regulators resist changing the rules. It’s because there’s a big punishment on one side and no reward on the other. How would any rational person behave in such a scenario?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
In terms of the Internet, it's like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a [?], like a collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It's a hugely impactful thing.
Elon Musk
Do you think I'm insane?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I’m not sure why I’d want to talk about extremely sad events. It does no good for the future. If you’ve got other kids and obligations, then wallowing in sadness does no good for anyone around you. I’m not sure what should be done in such situations.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
It's OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.
Elon Musk
Constantly think about how you could be doing things better.
Elon Musk
They were building a Ferrari for every launch, when it was possible that a Honda Accord might do the trick.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
But there is now a degree to which you have to ask whether his success is an indictment on the rest of us who have been working on much more incremental things. To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it's a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon. - Peter Thiel on Elon Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
One of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask. Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy.
Elon Musk (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
One of the biggest mistakes we made was trying to automate things that are super easy for a person to do, but super hard for a robot to do.
Elon Musk
My biggest mistake is probably weighing too much on someone’s talent and not someone’s personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.” – Elon Musk
Nathaniel Oliver (Elon Musk: Renaissance Man)
The pioneer and would-be spacefarer Elon Musk said he would like to die on Mars, though not on impact. Martian conditions suggest death on impact might be preferable.
James Lovelock (Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence)
It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will. “They might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools are so protective,” he said. “If you call someone a name, you get sent home. When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, ‘Whatever. Shake it off.’ Even if there was a little blood, but not a lot, it was fine. What do I do? Create artificial adversity? How do you do that? The biggest battle I have is restricting their video game time because they want to play all the time. The rule is they have to read more than they play video games. They also can’t play completely stupid video games. There’s one game they downloaded recently called Cookies or something. You literally tap a fucking cookie. It’s like a Psych 101 experiment. I made them delete the cookie game. They had to play Flappy Golf instead, which is like Flappy Bird, but at least there is some physics involved.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
You don’t know what you don’t know. You realize there are all these things out there.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
I really like computer games, but then if I made really great computer games, how much effect would that have on the world,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
As the first dozen or so employees came to the offices, they were told that SpaceX’s mission would be to emerge as the “Southwest Airlines of Space.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I could go and buy one of the islands in the Bahamas and turn it into my personal fiefdom, but I am much more interested in trying to build and create a new company.
Elon Musk
Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.  
Elon Musk
You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on... So it's a fixer-upper of a planet.
Elon Musk
When we first talked about the touch-screen, the guys came back and said, ‘There’s nothing like that in the automotive supply chain,’” Musk said. “I said, ‘I know. That’s because it’s never been put in a fucking car before.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I calculated the backstop value, and it was something like fifty cents on the dollar, while the actual debt was trading at twenty-five cents,” Musk said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Maybe I read too many comics as a kid,” Musk said. “In the comics, it always seems like they are trying to save the world. It seemed like one should try to make the world a better place because the inverse makes no sense.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
In the years that followed, the goal went from taking huge risks to create new industries and grand new ideas, to chasing easier money by entertaining consumers and pumping out simple apps and advertisements. “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” Jeff Hammerbacher, an early Facebook engineer, told me. “That sucks.” Silicon Valley began to look an awful lot like Hollywood.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
While the good times have been well chronicled, the subsequent bad times have been—unsurprisingly—ignored. It’s more fun to reminiscence on irrational exuberance than the mess that gets left behind.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Despite being an engineer, Musk’s father was something of a Luddite and dismissive of the machine. Elon recounted that “he said it was just for games and that you’d never be able to do real engineering on it. I just said, ‘Whatever.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Musk sampled a handful of ideologies and then ended up more or less back where he had started, embracing the sci-fi lessons found in one of the most influential books in his life: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Musk comes off much more like Thomas Edison than Howard Hughes. He’s an inventor, celebrity businessman, and industrialist able to take big ideas and turn them into big products.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Do or die but don’t give up.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.” Early
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Buy a Tesla. Forget about the mess you’ve made of the planet for a while.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.
Elon Musk
He’d started the company to put a dent in the automotive industry and force people to rethink electric cars.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Enough solar energy hits the Earth’s surface in about an hour to equal a year’s worth of worldwide energy consumption from all sources put together.20
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
You don’t tell Elon you can’t do something. That will get you kicked out of the room. You need everything lined up. After we presented the plan, he said, ‘Okay, thanks.’ Everyone was like, ‘Holy shit, he didn’t fire you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When you realize that the Volkswagen sign-and-drive “event” is code for “we’re making the experience of buying a car slightly less miserable than usual,” you’ll start to appreciate just how low the automotive industry has sunk.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst — it sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.
Elon Musk
He points out that one of the really tough things is figuring out what questions to ask,” Musk said. “Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask.” The teenage Musk then arrived at his ultralogical mission statement. “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,” he said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
People had thrown money at green technology because it seemed like the right thing to do, not because it made business sense.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules. “There
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. I just try to think about the future and not be sad
Elon Musk
As much as possible, avoid hiring MBAs. MBA programs don’t teach people how to create companies … Our position is that we hire someone in spite of an MBA, not because of one …
mbfrw (ELON MUSK - 100 Fascinating Facts, Stories & Inspiring Quotes | The Mini Elon Musk Biography (People With Impact Series))
My mind is not easily blown, but this place and this guy were amazing,” Downey said. To
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I’m pretty sure that we ended up with the only seventeen-inch touch-screen in the world,” Musk said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I came very close to dying,” Musk said. “That’s my lesson for taking a vacation: vacations will kill you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
this group of young, nimble engineers who crossed disciplines out of necessity and the spirit of adventure.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” Jeff Hammerbacher, an early Facebook engineer, told me. “That sucks.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
He’s less a CEO chasing riches than a general marshaling troops to secure victory.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Anyone who tries to build a car company in the United States is quickly reminded that the last successful start-up in the industry was Chrysler, founded in 1925.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I’m not an investor. I like to make technologies real that I think are important for the future and useful in some sort of way.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When Musk discovered that Spincraft was well behind schedule, he turned to a Spincraft employee and informed him, “You’re fucking us up the ass, and it doesn’t feel good.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Within the next few years, SpaceX expects to cut its price to at least one-tenth that of its rivals.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Either you’re trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you’re not. And if you’re not, Musk considers you a failure.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Every time he’s fired someone and taken their job, he’s delivered on whatever the project was.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
That ability to stay focused in the midst of a crisis stands as one of Musk’s main advantages over other executives and competitors.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
And by recruiting hundreds of bright, self-motivated people, SpaceX has maximized the power of the individual. One person putting in a sixteen-hour day ends up being much more effective than two people working eight-hour days together.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Musk came to see man’s fate in the universe as a personal obligation. If that meant pursuing cleaner energy technology or building spaceships to extend the human species’s reach, then so be it.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I don’t want to be the person who ever has to compete with Elon. You might as well leave the business and find something else fun to do. He will outmaneuver you, outthink you, and out-execute you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The way Elon talks about this is that you always need to start with the first principles of a problem. What are the physics of it? How much time will it take? How much will it cost? How much cheaper can I make it?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
That’s part of what separates Elon from mere mortals,” said Ed Ho, the former Zip2 executive, who went on to cofound X.com. “He’s willing to take an insane amount of personal risk. When you do a deal like that, it either pays off or you end up in a bus shelter somewhere.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Ich würde gern auf dem Mars sterben, nur nicht bei der Landung", sagt er. "Im Idealfall möchte ich für einen Besuch dorthin eine Weile zur Erde zurückkommen und wieder hochfliegen, wenn ich 70 bin oder so, und dann einfach da bleiben. wenn alles gut läuft, wird es so sein.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk & the quest for a fantastic future)
A six-month offset would be like, like Gallipoli. You have to make sure you charge right after the bombardment. Don’t fucking sit around for two hours so that the Turks can go back in the trenches. Timing is important. We have to do everything we can to minimize the timing risk.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Like Steve Jobs before him, Musk is able to think up things that consumers did not even know they wanted—the door handles, the giant touch-screen—and to envision a shared point of view for all of Tesla’s products and services.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Marketing people who made grammatical mistakes in e-mails were let go, as were other people who hadn’t done anything “awesome” in recent memory. “He can be incredibly intimidating at times but doesn’t have a real sense for just how imposing he can be,” said one former Tesla executive.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
promising, promising was doing—and doing spectacular things. “I may have been optimistic with respect to the timing on some of these things, but I didn’t over-promise on the outcome,” Musk told me during an interview after the Model S launch. “I have done everything I said I was going to do.” Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
He just destroys you and, if you survive, he determines if he can trust you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Humility is by definition a starting point—and it sends you off on a journey from there. The arrogance of certainty is both a starting point and an ending point—no journeys needed.
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
You have to put yourself in a position where you say, ‘Well, how would this sound to them, knowing what they know?
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Elon es así: triunfar o morir, pero jamás rendirse”.»
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
Instead of a blank canvas, school hands kids a coloring book and tells them to stay within the lines.4 What
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
progress, then you have to fight the rules. “There
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
You’re told to park at One Rocket Road in Hawthorne, where SpaceX has its HQ. It
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
he expected the revenue in ten years to be ten million dollars a day and that every day we were slower to achieve our goals was a day of missing out on that money.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Musk wants to conquer the solar system, and, as it stands, there’s just one company where you can work if that sort of quest gets you out of bed in the morning.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
SpaceX has been testing reusable rockets that can carry payloads to space and land back on Earth, on their launchpads, with precision.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” Jeff Hammerbacher,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
The longer you wait to fire someone the longer it has been since you should have fired them,’” Spikes said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
company and the pain that accompanies a grand vision left
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to . . . well . . . save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
No one, however, would suggest that his reach extended down as far as Musk’s into overseeing so
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
And it may well be the case that this is exactly the type of person it takes to make a freaking space Internet real.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Michael Rank (The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk)
To overcome procrastination, find a way to start your task in less than two minutes. Once you start it is simpler to keep moving. Momentum will do the work.
Michael Rank (The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk)
The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
SuperDraco
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Musk dijo que deseaba que el auto tuviera una estética inspirada en Aston Martin y Porsche,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future
Elon Musk
This left Musk searching for an industry that had tons of money and inefficiencies that he and the Internet could exploit. Musk began thinking back to his time as an intern at the Bank of Nova Scotia. His big takeaway from that job, that bankers are rich and dumb, now had the feel of a massive opportunity.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Elon’s mind was always way beyond the present moment,” he said. “You could see that he was a step or three ahead of everyone else and one hundred percent committed to what we were doing.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Jobs. Musk is a sci-fi version of P. T. Barnum who has gotten extraordinarily rich by preying on people’s fear and self-hatred. Buy a Tesla. Forget about the mess you’ve made of the planet for a while.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
In late June, she posted a quotation from Moby without any additional context: “There’s no such thing as a well-adjusted public figure. If they were well adjusted they wouldn’t try to be a public figure.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
We are building this because by the time she is old enough to drive she will know a car as something completely different to how we know it today, just like you don’t think of a phone as a thing on the wall with a cord on it. It’s this future that depends on you.” Eberhard
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
I don’t know what a business is. All a company is is a bunch of people together to create a product or service. There’s no such thing as a business, just pursuit of a goal—a group of people pursuing a goal.
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
I’m not saying like only smart people should have kids. I’m just saying that smart people should have kids as well. They should at least maintain—at least be a replacement rate. And the fact of the matter is that I notice that a lot of really smart women have zero or one kid.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
These efforts began in earnest on October 18, 2004, and, rather remarkably, four months later, on January 27, 2005, an entirely new kind of car had been built by eighteen people. It could even be driven around.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
So if we want to think like a scientist more often in life, those are the three key objectives—to be humbler about what we know, more confident about what’s possible, and less afraid of things that don’t matter.
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
From time to time, Musk will send out an e-mail to the entire company to enforce a new policy or let them know about something that’s bothering him. One of the more famous e-mails arrived in May 2010 with the subject line: Acronyms Seriously Suck: There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don’t want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees. That needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action—I have given enough warnings over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past. For example, there should be no “HTS” [horizontal test stand] or “VTS” [vertical test stand] designations for test stands. Those are particularly dumb, as they contain unnecessary words. A “stand” at our test site is obviously a *test* stand. VTS-3 is four syllables compared with “Tripod,” which is two, so the bloody acronym version actually takes longer to say than the name! The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. An acronym that most engineers outside of SpaceX already know, such as GUI, is fine to use. It is also ok to make up a few acronyms/contractions every now and again, assuming I have approved them, eg MVac and M9 instead of Merlin 1C-Vacuum or Merlin 1C-Sea Level, but those need to be kept to a minimum.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Surely Musk did not have the gall to try to revamp the very idea of the automobile and build an energy network at the same time with a budget equivalent to what Ford and ExxonMobil spend on their annual holiday parties.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
When I was a little kid, I was really scared of the dark. But then I came to understand, dark just means the absence of photons in the visible wavelength--400 to 700 nanometers. Then I thought, well, it's really silly to be afraid of a lack of photons. Then I wasn't afraid of the dark anymore after that.
Elon Musk
Among his inner circle, Musk is warm, funny, and deeply emotional.* He might not engage in the standard chitchat, asking a friend how his kids are doing, but he would do everything in his considerable power to help that friend if his child were sick or in trouble. He will protect those close to him at all costs and, when deemed necessary, seek to destroy those who have wronged him or his friends. Musk’s
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
And learning, for Musk, is simply the process of “downloading data and algorithms into your brain.”3 Among his many frustrations with formal classroom learning is the “ridiculously slow download speed” of sitting in a classroom while a teacher explains something, and to this day, most of what he knows he’s learned through reading.
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
It’s pretty hard to get to another star system. Alpha Centauri is four light years away, so if you go at 10 per cent of the speed of light, it’s going to take you 40 years, and that’s assuming you can instantly reach that speed, which isn’t going to be the case. You have to accelerate. You have to build up to 20 or 30 per cent and then slow down, assuming you want to stay at Alpha Centauri and not go zipping past. It’s just hard. With current life spans, you need generational ships. You need antimatter drives, because that’s the most mass-efficient. It’s doable, but it’s super slow.
Elon Musk
He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Even very wealthy people like Lauren would tend to reserve something like a McLaren for special events or the occasional Sunday drive. Not Musk. He drove it all around Silicon Valley and parked it on the street by the X.com offices. His friends were horrified to see such a work of art covered with bird droppings or in the parking lot of a Safeway.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Aunque le veo los mismos defectos como empresario, las mismas taras personales y las mismas limitaciones que pueda verle cualquier otro, sigo tan convencido como siempre de que Musk tendrá éxito en sus aspiraciones. Ciertamente, no está programado para fracasar.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
Around 2010, Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor, began promoting the idea that the technology industry had let people down. “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters” became the tagline of his venture capital firm Founders Fund. In an essay called “What Happened to the Future,” Thiel and his cohorts described how Twitter, its 140-character messages, and similar inventions have let the public down. He argued that science fiction, which once celebrated the future, has turned dystopian because people no longer have an optimistic view of technology’s ability to change the world. I
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
The media reports from the day described the car as the love child of an Aston Martin and a Maserati. In reality, the sedan barely held together. It still had the base structure of a Mercedes CLS, although no one in the press knew that, and some of the body panels and the hood were stuck to the frame with magnets. “They could just slide the hood right off,” said Bruce Leak, a Tesla owner invited to attend the event. “It wasn’t really attached.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Tomarme unas vacaciones me enseñó esa lección: las vacaciones te matan.»
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
Soy un hombre complicado con necesidades muy simples pero muy concretas
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea.
Elon Musk
Con el tiempo me di cuenta de que quizá solucionaba un problema, pero al precio de volver improductiva a una persona. Simplemente no era una buena manera de hacer las cosas.»
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
miracle of modern science and business happen. Earlier
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
SpaceX is in this for the long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work.” Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Page holds Musk up as a model he wishes others would emulate—a figure that should be replicated during a time in which the businessmen and politicians have fixated on short-term, inconsequential goals. “I don’t think we’re doing a good job as a society deciding what things are really important to do,” Page said. “I think like we’re just not educating people in this kind of general way. You should have a pretty broad engineering and scientific background. You should have some leadership training and a bit of MBA training or knowledge of how to run things, organize stuff, and raise money. I don’t think most people are doing that, and it’s a big problem. Engineers are usually trained in a very fixed area. When you’re able to think about all of these disciplines together, you kind of think differently and can dream of much crazier things and how they might work. I think that’s really an important thing for the world. That’s how we make progress.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
On July 1, 2003, Eberhard and Tarpenning incorporated their new company. While at Disneyland a few months earlier on a date with his wife, Eberhard had come up with the name Tesla Motors, both to pay homage to the inventor and electric motor pioneer Nikola Tesla and because it sounded cool.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
SpaceX is the hip, forward-thinking place that’s brought the perks of Silicon Valley—namely frozen yogurt, stock options, speedy decision making, and a flat corporate structure—to a staid industry.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Musk has talked about having more kids, and it’s on this subject that he delivers some controversial philosophizing vis-à-vis the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. “There’s this point that Mike Judge makes in Idiocracy, which is like smart people, you know, should at least sustain their numbers,” Musk said. “Like, if it’s a negative Darwinian vector, then obviously that’s not a good thing. It should be at least neutral. But if each successive generation of smart people has fewer kids, that’s probably bad, too. I mean, Europe, Japan, Russia, China are all headed for demographic implosion. And the fact of the matter is that basically the wealthier—basically wealth, education, and being secular are all indicative of low birth rate. They all correlate with low birth rate. I’m not saying like only smart people should have kids. I’m just saying that smart people should have kids as well. They should at least maintain—at least be a replacement rate. And the fact of the matter is that I notice that a lot of really smart women have zero or one kid. You’re like, ‘Wow, that’s probably not good.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
He would place this urgency that he expected the revenue in ten years to be ten million dollars a day and that every day we were slower to achieve our goals was a day of missing out on that money.” Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
No creo que me volviese a escribir después de aquello. Estamos intentando causar un impacto realmente grande en la industria espacial. Si las reglas no nos permiten progresar, debemos luchar contra ellas.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
Acaba de aparecer en escena una nueva generación de fabricantes de satélites con la capacidad de responder a consultas tipo Google sobre nuestro planeta. Estos satélites pueden enfocarse en Iowa y determinar el momento en que los campos de maíz están maduros y listos para cosechar, o contar los automóviles que hay en los aparcamientos de Wal-Mart en toda California para calcular la demanda de productos durante las vacaciones.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: El empresario que anticipa el futuro)
I would like to die on Mars,” he said. “Just not on impact. Ideally I’d like to go for a visit, come back for a while, and then go there when I’m like seventy or something and then just stay there. If things turn out well, that would be the case. If my wife and I have a bunch of kids, she would probably stay with them on Earth.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Turning humans into space colonizers is his stated life’s purpose. “I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet—to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness—then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
I may have been optimistic with respect to the timing on some of these things, but I didn’t over-promise on the outcome,” Musk told me during an interview after the Model S launch. “I have done everything I said I was going to do.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Insecurity can be solved the hard way or the easy way—and by giving people the easy option, dogmatic tribes remove the pressure to do the hard work of evolving into a more independent person with a more internally-defined identity.
Tim Urban (The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why)
Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” No doubt, entering space is an unforgiving business to deal with but Musk mastered it. His biggest advice is to, “really pay attention to negative feedback and actively solicit it, particularly from friends... hardly anyone does that. It's incredibly helpful.
mbfrw (ELON MUSK - 100 Fascinating Facts, Stories & Inspiring Quotes | The Mini Elon Musk Biography (People With Impact Series))
a way to get around the country’s rigid labor laws that limit the hours employees can work, by automating a metal stamping factory so that it could run twenty-four hours per day instead of sixteen hours like the factories of rivals.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
the Falcon 1 shut down just as planned and reached orbit, making it the first privately built machine to accomplish such a feat. It took six years—about four and half more than Musk had once planned—and five hundred people to make this miracle
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Then I spoke with proven shapers I knew—Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Reed Hastings, Muhammad Yunus, Geoffrey Canada, Jack Dorsey (of Twitter), David Kelley (of IDEO), and more. They had all visualized remarkable concepts and built organizations to actualize them, and done that repeatedly and over long periods of time. I asked them to take an hour’s worth of personality assessments to discover their values, abilities, and approaches. While not perfect, these assessments have been invaluable. (In fact, I have been adapting and refining them to help us in our recruiting and management.) The answers these shapers provided to the standardized questions gave me objective and statistically measurable evidence about their similarities and differences. It turns out they have a lot in common. They are all independent thinkers who do not let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details (and levels in between) and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
He picks the most visible place on purpose,” said the investor and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson. “He’s at Tesla just about every Saturday and Sunday and wants people to see him and know they can find him. Then, he can also call suppliers on the weekend, and let them know that he’s personally putting in the hours on the factory floor and expects the same from them.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity), Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Reed Hastings (of Netflix) are other great shapers from the business world. In philanthropy, Muhammad Yunus (of Grameen), Geoffrey Canada (of Harlem Children’s Zone), and Wendy Kopp (of Teach for America) come to mind; and in government, Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lee Kuan Yew, and Deng Xiaoping. Bill Gates has been a shaper in both business and philanthropy, as was Andrew Carnegie. Mike Bloomberg has been a shaper in business, philanthropy, and government. Einstein, Freud, Darwin, and Newton were giant shapers in the sciences. Christ, Muhammad, and the Buddha were religious shapers. They all had original visions and successfully built them out.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
I think the United States is more open to new ideas than any country in the world. And I think becomes somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that because the United States is open to new ideas, it attracted people from the world who had new ideas.
mbfrw (ELON MUSK - 100 Fascinating Facts, Stories & Inspiring Quotes | The Mini Elon Musk Biography (People With Impact Series))
All the bankers did was copy what everyone else did. If everyone else ran off a bloody cliff, they’d run right off a cliff with them. If there was a giant pile of gold sitting in the middle of the room and nobody was picking it up, they wouldn’t pick it up, either.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
To me, Elon is the shining example of how Silicon Valley might be able to reinvent itself and be more relevant than chasing these quick IPOs and focusing on getting incremental products out,” said Edward Jung, a famed software engineer and inventor. “Those things are important, but they are not enough. We need to look at different models of how to do things that are longer term in nature and where the technology is more integrated.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
workshop. He asked the Tesla engineers why he had put that picture up. One of them guessed that it was because people like his daughter would drive the car. To which Eberhard replied, “No. We are building this because by the time she is old enough to drive she will know a car as something completely different to how we know it today, just like you don’t think of a phone as a thing on the wall with a cord on it. It’s this future that depends on you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Musk, though, approaches everything from a Platonic perspective. As he sees it, all of the design and technology choices should be directed toward the goal of making a car as close to perfect as possible. To the extent that rival automakers haven’t, that’s what Musk is judging. It’s almost a binary experience for him. Either you’re trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you’re not. And if you’re not, Musk considers you a failure.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
For Gracias, the Tesla and SpaceX investor and Musk’s friend, the 2008 period told him everything he would ever need to know about Musk’s character. He saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had lost a child, who was being pilloried in the press by reporters and his ex-wife and who verged on having his life’s work destroyed. “He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I’ve ever met,” Gracias said. “What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn’t just survive. He kept working and stayed focused.” That ability to stay focused in the midst of a crisis stands as one of Musk’s main advantages over other executives and competitors. “Most people who are under that sort of pressure fray,” Gracias said. “Their decisions go bad. Elon gets hyperrational. He’s still able to make very clear, long-term decisions. The harder it gets, the better he gets. Anyone who saw what he went through firsthand came away with more respect for the guy. I’ve just never seen anything like his ability to take pain.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The founders of start-ups as varied as YouTube, Palantir Technologies, and Yelp all worked at PayPal. Another set of people—including Reid Hoffman, Thiel, and Botha—emerged as some of the technology industry’s top investors. PayPal staff pioneered techniques in fighting online fraud that have formed the basis of software used by the CIA and FBI to track terrorists and of software used by the world’s largest banks to combat crime. This collection of super-bright employees has become known as the PayPal Mafia—more or less the current ruling class of Silicon Valley—and Musk is its most famous and successful member.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Public company stocks, particularly if big step changes in technology are involved, go through extreme volatility, both for reasons of internal execution and for reasons that have nothing to do with anything except the economy. This causes people to be distracted by the manic-depressive nature of the stock instead of creating great products. For
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
7 ALL ELECTRIC J. B. STRAUBEL HAS A TWO-INCH-LONG SCAR that cuts across the middle of his left cheek. He earned it in high school, during a chemistry class experiment. Straubel whipped up the wrong concoction of chemicals, and the beaker he was holding exploded, throwing off shards of glass, one of which sliced through his face. The wound lingers as a tinkerer’s badge of honor. It arrived near the end of a childhood full of experimentation with chemicals and machines. Born in Wisconsin, Straubel constructed a large chemistry lab in the basement of his family’s home that included fume hoods and chemicals ordered, borrowed, or pilfered. At thirteen, Straubel found an old golf cart at the dump. He brought it back home and restored it to working
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
There needs to be an intersection of the set of people who wish to go, and the set of people who can afford to go...and that intersection of sets has to be enough to establish a self-sustaining civilisation. My rough guess is that for a half-million dollars, there are enough people that could afford to go and would want to go. But it’s not going to be a vacation jaunt. It’s going to be saving up all your money and selling all your stuff, like when people moved to the early American colonies...even at a million people you’re assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil.Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we’re talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship...If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel. We’ll go to the moons of Jupiter, at least some of the outer ones for sure, and probably Titan on Saturn, and the asteroids. Once we have that forcing function, and an Earth-to-Mars economy, we’ll cover the whole Solar System. But the key is that we have to make the Mars thing work. If we’re going to have any chance of sending stuff to other star systems, we need to be laser-focused on becoming a multi-planet civilisation. That’s the next step.
Elon Musk
But the more the Tesla guys researched the industry, the more they realized that the big automakers don’t even really build their cars anymore. The days of Henry Ford having raw materials delivered to one end of his Michigan factory and then sending cars out the other end had long passed. “BMW didn’t make its windshields or upholstery or rearview mirrors,” Tarpenning said. “The only thing the big car companies had kept was internal combustion research, sales and marketing, and the final assembly. We thought naïvely that we could access all the same suppliers for our parts.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
These same people were required to be adept at software. They’d pull an all-nighter building a turbo pump for the engine and then dig in the next night to retool a suite of applications used to control the engines. Hollman did this type of work all the time and was an all-star, but he was not alone among this group of young, nimble engineers who crossed disciplines out of necessity and the spirit of adventure. “There was an almost addictive quality to the experience,” Hollman said. “You’re twenty-four or twenty-five, and they’re trusting you with so much. It was very empowering.” To get to space,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Whether Musk was a founder of Tesla in the purest sense of the word is irrelevant at this point. There would be no Tesla to talk about today were it not for Musk’s money, marketing savvy, chicanery, engineering smarts, and indomitable spirit. Tesla was, in effect, willed into existence by Musk and reflects his personality as much as Intel, Microsoft, and Apple reflect the personalities of their founders.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
We need to figure out how to launch multiple times a day,” Musk said. “The thing that’s important in the long run is establishing a self-sustaining base on Mars. In order for that to work—in order to have a self-sustaining city on Mars—there would need to be millions of tons of equipment and probably millions of people. So how many launches is that? Well, if you send up 100 people at a time, which is a lot to go on such a long journey, you’d need to do 10,000 flights to get to a million people. So 10,000 flights over what period of time? Given that you can only really depart for Mars once every two years, that means you would need like forty or fifty years.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
This was a welcome change from Musk’s approach, which had been to set overly optimistic deadlines and then try to get engineers to work nonstop for days on end to meet the goals. “If you asked Elon how long it would take to do something, there was never anything in his mind that would take more than an hour,” Ambras said. “We came to interpret an hour as really taking a day or two and if Elon ever did say something would take a day, we allowed for a week or two weeks.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
They took one look at Zip2’s code and began rewriting the vast majority of the software. Musk bristled at some of their changes, but the computer scientists needed just a fraction of the lines of code that Musk used to get their jobs done. They had a knack for dividing software projects into chunks that could be altered and refined whereas Musk fell into the classic self-taught coder trap of writing what developers call hairballs—big, monolithic hunks of code that could go berserk for mysterious reasons.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Roosevelt's productivity resulted from how he chose to spend his time. He read frequently due to his belief that efficiency did not come from packing in scheduled activities down to every last minute of the day. Rather, it was through the regular feeding of his intellect. Even during the height of a presidential campaign, he packed in nearly four hours of reading a day. He enjoyed works of fiction, science, political philosophy, and history. One can imagine a nervous political aide bursting in his study, telling Roosevelt to put down his copy of Cicero because he was scheduled to begin the day's fourth speech in only two minutes. Researcher Robert Talbert notes that a second explanation for Roosevelt's productivity was his method of splitting up his schedule. His reading times were broken up into 45 minute-increments, divided between three half-hour time slots and three one-hour time slots. There is no way that Roosevelt could have known this, but such a segmented approach to reading is the best way for the brain to retain information. A 2008 study from the University of Illinois found that the brain's attentional resources drop after a long period of focusing on a single activity. Even brief diversions can significantly increase one's ability to focus on a task for a long period of time.
Michael Rank (The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk)
There can be no question that Musk has mastered the art of getting the most out of his employees. Interview three dozen SpaceX engineers and each one of them will have picked up on a managerial nuance that Musk has used to get people to meet his deadlines. One example from Brogan: Where a typical manager may set the deadline for the employee, Musk guides his engineers into taking ownership of their own delivery dates. “He doesn’t say, ‘You have to do this by Friday at two P.M.,’” Brogan said. “He says, ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at two P.M. Can you do it?’ Then, when you say yes, you are not working hard because he told you to. You’re working hard for yourself. It’s a distinction you can feel. You have signed up to do your own work.” And by recruiting hundreds of bright, self-motivated people, SpaceX has maximized the power of the individual. One person putting in a sixteen-hour day ends up being much more effective than two people working eight-hour days together. The individual doesn’t have to hold meetings, reach a consensus, or bring other people up to speed on a project. He just keeps working and working and working. The ideal SpaceX employee is someone like Steve Davis, the director of advanced projects at SpaceX. “He’s been working sixteen hours a day every day for years,” Brogan said. “He gets more done than eleven people working together.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Elon is brilliant. He’s involved in just about everything. He understands everything. If he asks you a question, you learn very quickly not to go give him a gut reaction. He wants answers that get down to the fundamental laws of physics. One thing he understands really well is the physics of the rockets. He understands that like nobody else. The stuff I have seen him do in his head is crazy. He can get in discussions about flying a satellite and whether we can make the right orbit and deliver Dragon at the same time and solve all these equations in real time. It’s amazing to watch the amount of knowledge he has accumulated over the years. I don’t want to be the person who ever has to compete with Elon. You might as well leave the business and find something else fun to do. He will outmaneuver you, outthink you, and out-execute you.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Gene Berdichevsky, one of the members of the solar-powered-car team, lit up the second he heard from Straubel. An undergraduate, Berdichevsky volunteered to quit school, work for free, and sweep the floors at Tesla if that’s what it took to get a job. The founders were impressed with his spirit and hired Berdichevsky after one meeting. This left Berdichevsky in the uncomfortable position of calling his Russian immigrant parents, a pair of nuclear submarine engineers, to tell them that he was giving up on Stanford to join an electric car start-up. As employee No. 7, he spent part of the workday in the Menlo Park office and the rest in Straubel’s living room designing three-dimensional models of the car’s powertrain on a computer and building battery pack prototypes in the garage. “Only now do I realize how insane it was,” Berdichevsky said.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
The technology has proven so valuable that SpaceX’s competitors have started to copy it and have tried to poach some of the company’s experts in the field. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s secretive rocket company, has been particularly aggressive, hiring away Ray Miryekta, one of the world’s foremost friction stir welding experts and igniting a major rift with Musk. “Blue Origin does these surgical strikes on specialized talent* offering like double their salaries. I think it’s unnecessary and a bit rude,” Musk said. Within SpaceX, Blue Origin is mockingly referred to as BO and at one point the company created an e-mail filter to detect messages with “blue” and “origin” to block the poaching. The relationship between Musk and Bezos has soured, and they no longer chat about their shared ambition of getting to Mars. “I do think Bezos has an insatiable desire to be King Bezos,” Musk said. “He has a relentless work ethic and wants to kill everything in e-commerce. But he’s not the most fun guy, honestly.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
As Page puts it, “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.” It’s a principle he’s tried to apply at Google. When Page and Sergey Brin began wondering aloud about developing ways to search the text inside of books, all of the experts they consulted said it would be impossible to digitize every book. The Google cofounders decided to run the numbers and see if it was actually physically possible to scan the books in a reasonable amount of time. They concluded it was, and Google has since scanned millions of books. “I’ve learned that your intuition about things you don’t know that much about isn’t very good,” Page said. “The way Elon talks about this is that you always need to start with the first principles of a problem. What are the physics of it? How much time will it take? How much will it cost? How much cheaper can I make it? There’s this level of engineering and physics that you need to make judgments about what’s possible and interesting. Elon is unusual in that he knows that, and he also knows business and organization and leadership and governmental issues.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
But it was while discussing SpaceX’s grandest missions that Shotwell really came into her own and seemed to inspire the interns. Some of them clearly dreamed of becoming astronauts, and Shotwell said that working at SpaceX was almost certainly their best chance to get to space now that NASA’s astronaut corps had dwindled. Musk had made designing cool-looking, “non–Stay Puft” spacesuits a personal priority. “They can’t be clunky and nasty,” Shotwell said. “You have to do better than that.” As for where the astronauts would go: well, there were the space habitats, the moon, and, of course, Mars as options. SpaceX has already started testing a giant rocket, called the Falcon Heavy, that will take it much farther into space than the Falcon 9, and it has another, even larger spaceship on the way. “Our Falcon Heavy rocket will not take a busload of people to Mars,” she said. “So, there’s something after Heavy. We’re working on it.” To make something like that vehicle happen, she said, the SpaceX employees needed to be effective and pushy. “Make sure your output is high,” Shotwell said. “If we’re throwing a bunch of shit in your way, you need to be mouthy about it. That’s not a quality that’s widely accepted elsewhere, but it is at SpaceX.” And, if that sounded harsh, so be it. As Shotwell saw it, the commercial space race was coming down to SpaceX and China and that’s it. And in the bigger picture, the race was on to ensure man’s survival. “If you hate people and think human extinction is okay, then fuck it,” Shotwell said. “Don’t go to space. If you think it is worth humans doing some risk management and finding a second place to go live, then you should be focused on this issue and willing to spend some money. I am pretty sure we will be selected by NASA to drop landers and rovers off on Mars. Then the first SpaceX mission will be to drop off a bunch of supplies, so that once people get there, there will be places to live and food to eat and stuff for them to do.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
As a bonding exercise one weekend, Musk, Ambras, a few other employees and friends took off for a bike ride through the Saratoga Gap trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Most of the riders had been training and were accustomed to strenuous sessions and the summer’s heat. They set up the mountains at a furious pace. After an hour, Russ Rive, Musk’s cousin, reached the top and proceeded to vomit. Right behind him were the rest of the cyclists. Then, fifteen minutes later, Musk became visible to the group. His face had turned purple, and sweat poured out of him, and he made it to the top. “I always think back to that ride. He wasn’t close to being in the condition needed for it,” Ambras said. “Anyone else would have quit or walked up their bike. As I watched him climb that final hundred feet with suffering all over his face, I thought, That’s Elon. Do or die but don’t give up.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)